torek, 17. januar 2017

The Medium Is The Message Or The Question Of Identity


During my university final exam when I was defending my thesis entitled Write Me A Painting, professor Ž asked me whether there was a particular ideology behind the title. I could easily have named the thesis the other way around, like Paint Me a Letter. I answered I was aware of that, but back then I saw myself as a calligrapher, a writer of paintings. I don't know, perhaps I saw both titles as the other side of the same coin.

I used to write with a broad nibbed pen or a flat brush, closely following the rules of calligraphy. When I started painting, I incorporated my calligraphy into my paintings. I wrote with a brush, using acrylic paint on canvas. I started thinking about what I was. Was I a calligrapher or a painter? Slowly I stopped writing, although letters remained my subject matter. Than something happened, I'm not quite sure what it was, but writing with a pen gradually made me nervous. I used to be patient, writing for hours non-stop was never a problem. A couple of weeks ago I picked up my pen and couldn't wait to finish. I didn't enjoy writing anymore. I just might have silently crossed the line separating the two worlds, simply by changing the tools I work with.

Dear professor Ž, after three years I'd like to answer your question again. It's not the other side of the same coin, but I guess you knew that all along. A calligrapher writes paintings while a painter paints letters. The question of identity is not a dilemma anymore. However, another question arose: what now...



*

Na zagovoru diplomske naloge z naslovom Napiši mi sliko, me je profesor Ž vprašal kakšna je ideologija za naslovom, če sploh je. Prav tako bi lahko nalogo poimenovala Naslikaj mi črko. Moj odgovor je bil, da se tega zavedam, vendar sem se takrat videla kot kaligrafinjo, kot nekoga, ki piše slike. Ne vem, morda sem celo oba naslova videla kot dve strani istega kovanca.

Nekoč sem pisala s kovinskim peresom s prirezano konico, pravila kaligrafije pa sem jemala zelo resno. Ko sem začela slikati, sem v slike vključevala kaligrafijo. Pisala sem s ploščatim čopičem, z akrilnimi barvami na platnu. Počasi se mi je pojavljalo vprašanje kaj sem, kaligrafinja ali slikarka. Sčasoma sem nehala pisati, čeprav so črke ostale moj motiv. Potem se je nekaj zgodilo. Ne vem točno kaj je bilo, vendar me je pisanje s peresom vedno bolj nerviralo. Nekoč sem bila potrpežljiva, pisati ure in ure brez prestanka zame ni bila nobena težava. Pred nekaj tedni sem želela napisati pet vrstic besedila in kar nisem mogla dočakati konca. Pisanje mi ni več bilo v veselje. Kaj pa vem, morda sem samo z menjavo orodij, ki jih uporabljam, tiho prestopila mejo, ki ločuje oba svetova.

Dragi profesor Ž, naj po treh letih ponovno odgovorim na vaše vprašanje. Ne gre za drugo stran istega kovanca, vendar se mi dozdeva, da to že vseskozi veste. Kaligraf piše slike, medtem ko slikar slika črke. Vprašanje identitete ni več dilema. Kljub temu pa se je pojavilo novo vprašanje: kaj zdaj ...


četrtek, 05. januar 2017

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver


This was one hell of a read. I heard it was horrible, however I found it a surprisingly quick read. There was no reluctance to pick the book up and continue reading, even though I said to myself I can leave it any time I wanted if I found it intolerable. When I closed the book, after I read the final sentences, I remember thinking it was bloody brilliant. It opened certain questions I never considered before or not seriously enough.

We Need to Talk About Kevin is a novel written in a form of letters from Eva to her husband Franklin after their son Kevin Columbine style killed seven of his school friends, a teacher and a cafeteria worker. Eva never wanted to have children. Franklin wanted a traditional happy family and in time Eva relented. Her reason for having a child was to turn a new leaf in her life, to take up a new challenge. In my opinion, for all the wrong reasons. After Kevin was born he resented her as much as she resented him. It felt as sort of a payback. He was a weird child doing weird things to put it mildly, up until the shooting. Eva often writes about shootings in high schools throughout America. She and Franklin talk about it trying to answer why it happened. Why do these kids do it? Are they really so obsessed with being famous? As Kevin said in an interview, the TV viewers like to watch people like him. Why did Kevin do it? Was it society or his family or was he born evil. At times it seems Kevin is just plain evil, everything he does is calculated, especially the shooting. But the longer I read, the more I wondered if it was that simple. In the end Eva asks him why he did it. He answers: "I used to think I knew. Now I'm not so sure."

What I found interesting is the choice of Eva's name. I haven't looked into it so I don't know if it's intentional, but Eva is an archetypal mother. There's supposed to be an Eva in every woman, including those without children. Those women often care about other people or their careers. Eva Katchadourian seems to be the negation of the archetypal mother. She even manages to damage her career, albeit unintentionally, when she can't keep her fingers away from Kevin's "computer virus collection". 

Some people resent the big intellectual words the author puts into Eva's mouth, but I liked it. I thought it corresponds with her beeing or wanting to be above her fellow Americans, always stressing her Armenian heritage and explaining what she doesn't like in Americans, as well as travelling extensively. What I struggled with were all the dialogues with Franklin she transcribed in her letters to him. I kept thinking why she was doing that. Franklin knows what he said. However, when things klicked into place at the end, I realised there was something else in those letters, they might have been more like therapy for her.

All in all, I'm, not sorry I read this book. It poses certain questions, but does it answer them? I don't think so, or at least not entirely. The reader has to work it out for him/herself. I like that.

*

O tej knjigo sem slišala, da je grozna, vendar sem jo presenetljivo hitro prebrala. Nisem imela težav, da bi nadaljevala z branjem potem, ko bi jo odložila, kar se mi včasih dogaja s knjigami, ki mi zaradi tega ali onega razloga niso všeč. Tematika je res težka. Od začetka sem si celo prigovarjala, da mi res ni treba prebrati do konca, če mi ne bo všeč. Ni mi žal, da sem jo prebrala, daleč od tega. Knjiga mi je dala misliti o temah, o katerih po navadi ne razmišljam ali vsaj ne dovolj. 

Morava se pogovoriti o Kevinu je roman v pismih, ki jih Eva piše možu Franklinu, potem, ko je njun sin Kevin ustrelil sedem sošolcev, učiteljico in kuharico iz šolske jedilnice. Eva si nikoli ni želela otrok. Franklin je bil tisti, ki je želel tradicionalno srečno družino, Eva pa se je s časom zmehčala. Za otroka se je odločila, ker si je želela obrniti nov list v življenju, najti nov izziv. Po mojem mnenju, iz napačnih razlogov. Takoj po rojstvu jo je Kevin odklanjal tako kot je ona odklanjala njega. Kevin je čuden otrok, ki je od nekdaj počel čudne reči, ki so se stopnjevale vse do poboja v šolski telovadnici. Eva velikokrat piše o streljanjih na ameriških šolah. S Franklinom se pogovarjata o tem in skušata najti razloge zakaj se to dogaja. Kaj se zgodi, da mulci postrelijo sošolce in učitelje? So res tako obsedeni z mislijo, da bi postali slavni? Kevin namreč v nekem intervjuju pove, da televizijski gledalci radi gledajo ljudi kot je on. Zakaj je Kevin pobil sošolce, učiteljico in kuharico? Je treba razloge iskati v družbi, družini ali se je preprosto rodil zloben. Od začetka se mi je zdelo, da je preprosto zloben. Vse kar je naredil je bilo preračunano, streljanje še posebej. Dlje ko sem brala, bolj se mi je zdelo, da le ni tako preprosto. Na koncu ga Eva vpraša zakaj je to storil. Odgovori jim, da je nekoč mislil, da ve, vendar ni več tako prepričan.

Zanimiva se mi je zdela izbira Evinega imena. Priznam, da nisem pretirano brala drugih mnenj in ocen knjige, tako da ne vem ali je ime izbrano namenoma. Eva je namreč arhetipska mati, ki poraja, varuje in neguje življenje. V vsaki ženski naj bi bila Eva, tudi v tistih, ki nimajo otrok, skrbijo pa lahko za drugi stvari, na primer za kariero. Za Evo Katchadourian se zdi, da je negacija arhetipske matere. Čeprav nenamerno, ji celo uspe škoditi karieri, ko ne more držati rok stran od Kevinove zbirke računalniških virusov. 

Nekaterim ljudem ni bil všeč jezik, ki ga je tu in tam uporabljala Eva. Preveč velikih intelektualnih besed naj bi bilo, in predolgih stavkov. Meni je bilo to všeč. Menim, da je sklada z Evo, ki se čuti (ali vsaj želi biti) nad Američani, veliko potuje, nenehno poudarja svoje armenske korenine in razlaga kaj vse ji pri Američanih ni všeč. Kar mi je predstavljalo manjšo oviro so edino dialogi s Franklinom, ki jih je zapisovala v pismih. Spraševala sem se zakaj to počne, saj Franklin vendar ve kaj je takrat rekel. Ko sem prebrala do konca in so stvari padle na svoje mesto, mi je postalo jasno, da je v teh pismih še nekaj drugega, kot neke vrste terapija.

Skratka, ni mi žal, da sem prebrala knjigo. Ali odgovori na vprašanja, ki jih poraja v bralcu? Mislim, da ne ali vsaj ne v celoti. Bralec jih mora poiskati sam, kar pa mi je vedno všeč.


ponedeljek, 02. januar 2017

Ice


Even though I don't much like winter, I like the smell of ice. Some people keep reminding me ice has no smell, but I know it does. It has the ability to invoke stories as well and not all of them have to do with cold ...

*

Čeprav nisem najbolj navdušena nad zimo, mi je všeč vonj ledu. Ja, saj vem ... nekaj jih je, ki še kar trdijo, da led nima vonja, vendar še vedno misim, da ga ima ... ne, vem, da ga ima. Pa poln zgodb je, ki nimajo vse zveze z mrazom.





petek, 30. december 2016

300 Rosas Morenas


Your white shirt has grown thirsty dark brown roses. Your blood oozes and flees around the corners of your sash. [...] Let me climb up, at least, up to the high balconies; Let me climb up! Let me, up to the green balconies.*

He came from the port of the city of Cabra. God knows what happened to him, or whose path he crossed, to give him bloody red roses oozing through the white cotton of his shirt. He had to return, it's been too long. It's dark, the air smells of green wind and green branches. Somewhere in the distance he senses her waiting, but at the same time there's something sinister in that waiting. He can feel a strange taste of bile, mint and basil in his mouth. 

It's not his time anymore, he feels as if he's there on borrowed moments, belonging to nobody. He looks up along the greenery, the overgrown rumbled down house. He thinks he can see her crossing the balcony and stopping by the wrought iron railings. He imagines her swaying her hips forward, gently, just enough that she can rest along the railings, waiting. He feels ivy, iron and stone beneath his fingers as he climbs.

He looks up and sees stars, millions of them, coming together in a giant spiral, closing into a circle, green and red and silver. The moon becomes a big green moth. He feels weightless. Just before he closes his eyes, the moth's reflection dances on the water. 


Romance Sonambulo; From The Selected Poems of Federico García Lorca, translated by William Logan. (via)




*


Tristo temno rjavih vrtnic se ti po naprsju plete. Tvoja srčna kri prenika in ti odišavlja ledje. [...] Pusti vsaj mi za ograje, gor visoko naj povzpnem se, pusti, pusti me, da splezam za ograje te zelene.*

Prišel je iz pristanišča v mestu Cabra. Bog ve kaj se mu je zgodilo ali komu je prekrižal pot, da skozi bel bombaž njegove srajce mezijo temne krvavo rdeče vrtnice. Moral se je vrniti, predolgo je že bilo. Tema je. Zrak diši po zelenem vetru in zelenih vejah. V daljavi jo čuti kako čaka. Nekaj zloveščega je v tem čakanju. Čuden okus žolča, mete in bazilike se mu nabere v ustih.

Počuti se kot da bi živel v izposojenem času, trenutkih, ki ne pripadajo nikomur. Pogleda navzgor, vzdolž zelenja, ki oklepa razpadajočo hišo. Zdi se mu, da jo vidi kako se sprehodi preko balkona in se ustavi ob ograji iz kovanega železa. Predstavlja si kako z boki zaniha naprej, čisto rahlo, ravno dovolj, da se nasloni na ograjo ... in čaka. Medtem ko pleza pod prsti čuti bršljan, železo in kamen.

Ko zadnjič pogleda navzgor, se nešteto zvezd združi v ogromno spiralo, ki se zapre v krog, zelen, rdeč in srebrn. Luna postane velika zelena vešča. Tik preden zapre oči, veščin odsev zapleše na vodi. 


* Federico Garcia Lorca, Mesečniška romanca. Prevod: Aleš Berger


sreda, 28. december 2016

England England by Julian Barnes



England England is a theme park set up by sir Jack Pitman. No, according to sir Jack, we shouldn't call it a theme park, because it's not it. It's quality leisure. It's set on the Isle of Wight and it includes all important English historical figures, events and places. Even the King is payed to move to the island in rule from there. Actors are hired to represent historical figures, and they do it according to the script. Sir Jack Pitman wants England England to encompass everything that is really English. The project is more sucessful as anyone thought it would be, England England becomes better than the original Old England.

The people and places, set up in the theme park are not just representations of the people and places. They are even better, not substitutes, but enhancements and enrichments. The problem arises when the actors start to believe they are who they are hired to represent. Robin Hood and his Merry Men start hunting for their own food, smugglers really smuggle the goods, the actor representing dr. Johnson takes his role so seriously, he even changes his name to dr. Johnson, and becomes who he represents. The actors not only take their roles too seriously, they become them, they become the things themselves.

The novel echoes ideas of French philosopher Jean Baudrillard that in our world reality has been replaced by simulacra, representations of the original, which become independent and in the end better than the original. What a tourist can see in Pitman's theme park (sorry, quality leisure) is a sort of one-stop-shop, where all historical and natural sites are located in one place, all historical people are there to be seen, talked to or dined with. In a way, it's even better than the real thing. Especially when there's no real thing left, where the original doesn't exist anymore, or it never existed.  

What is real anyway? The village fete commettee seems to have a couple of  definitions: Some say you are only real if someone has seen you; some that you were only real if you were in a book; some that you were real if enough people believed in you. There you go ...


*


England England je zabaviščni park, ki si ga je zamislil sir Jack Pitman. Nahaja se na otoku Isle of Wight in vključuje vse pomembne angleške zgodovinske osebnosti, dogodke in kraje. Celo kralju plačajo, da se preseli tja in od tam vlada. Zgodovinske osebnosti predstavljajo igralci, ki zvesto sledijo scenariju. Sir Jack Pitman želi z zabaviščnim parkom zaobjeto vse kar je resnično angleško. Projekt v nasprotju z pričakovanji postane uspešnica, England England pa boljša od resnične Anglije.

Ljudje in kraji v zabaviščnem parku niso samo predstavitve teh ljudi in krajev, ampak so celo boljši od originalov. Niso nadomestki, ampak obogatitve in poglobitve, imajo dodano vrednost. Težava nastane, ko začnejo igralci verjeti, da so oni sami ljudje, ki jih igrajo. Robin Hood in druščina si na primer začnejo sami loviti hrano, tihotapci resnično tihotapijo blago, igralec, ki so ga najeli, da bi igral dr. Johnsona, pa začne preresno jemati svojo vlogo. Gre celo tako daleč, da si ime spremeni skladno s svojo vlogo. Ne samo, da igralci preresno jemljejo vloge, ampak tudi dejansko postanejo to, postanejo stvari same.

Martha Cochrane je zaposlena pri sir Jacku kot cinik. Skupaj s sodelavcem in partnerjem Paulom, lovcem na ideje, izsiljujeta svojega delodajalca, da Martha prevzame vodenje zabaviščnega parka. Potem, ko sir Jack ponovno pridobi oblast, se mora Martha vrniti v Staro Anglijo, ki se je medtem vrnila v predindustrijski čas. V vasi, kjer živi, vaščani čutijo potrebo po ponovnem izumljanju tradicije in organizirajo vaški sejem. Martha se spomni sejmov, ki se jih je udeleževala kot otrok, in predlaga, da bi naredili nekaj podobnega, vendar njen predlog zavrnejo, saj se jim zdi prekompliciran. Izmislijo si nekaj novega.

Knjiga odseva idejo francoskega filozofa Jeana Baudrillarda, ki pravi, da smo v dvajsetem stoletju resničnost zamenjali s simulakrom, ki postane neodvisen in na koncu celo boljši od originala. Kar lahko turist vidi v Pitmanovem zabaviščen parku je neke vrste vse-na-enem-mestu, podobno kot nakupovalno središče, kjer najdemo vse kar potrebujemo. Vse zgodovinske znamenitosti in dogodki so na enem kraju, zgodovinske osebnosti pa so nam na voljo, da jih vidimo, se z njimi pogovarjamo ali z njimi celo povečerjamo. Na nek način je celo boljše od resnične znamenitosti, osebe ali dogodka, še posebej, če je original predaleč, ne obstaja več ali pa ga nikoli ni bilo.

Kaj pa sploh je resnično? Vaški odbor za organizacijo sejma ima nekaj definicij: resničen si, če te je že kdo videl, če je že kdaj kdo kaj napisal o tebi ali pa če dovolj ljudi verjame vate. Tako!



ponedeljek, 26. december 2016

The Importance Of the Process


Sometimes the process is more interesting than the final artwork. No, the process is always more interesting than the final artwork. All possible paths leading from one idea, can later give a good insight into the background of creation. It's thinking that's sexy, not the final artwork. 

I started with a green moth, Actias Luna. I don't know why I chose it. Everybody does, it's almost on every other artwork I see on the internet. Sometimes I think I shouldn't find it interesting, but I do. Luna Moth doesn't live in my neighbourhood, the chance of seeing it is nil. Anyway, it being green, made me think of Federico Garcia Lorca's Romance Sonambulo, than the green maiden waiting on a balcony, than abandoned buildings overgrown with greenery, than an abandoned greenhouse in Manfred's garden, Manfred being someone I once invented in a story. Why there's an abandoned greenhouse in his garden, he doesn't say. From there it went to the man climbing up to the high balconies, to where his green maiden is waiting for him (or so he thinks), while blood roses seep through his white shirt, and to My Oblivion by Tindersticks. Somewhere along those paths runs another idea, the one with another moon, like in Haruki Murakami's 1Q84, a greenish small moon, covered in moss. In fact, the green moon and the moth are the same thing and who knows, maybe the maiden too. Other paths are waiting but the lights along them are not on yet. There are drunken guardias civiles pounding on the door, dead maiden floating in the cistern while a moon's reflection dances on the water, ceramic tiles covering the balcony's floor and calligraphy.

Frankly, I haven't got the slightest idea where I'm going with these associations. I'm enjoying the process, scribbling and doodling in my sketchbook while ideas are still there in my mind, since I know how fleeting they can be. So far I've managed to keep my Waterbirds away. Nobody prevents me from painting this winter. So far, I'm winning, but who knows, the tides might turn. Hopefully they won't.



*

Včasih je postopek bolj zanimiv od končnega dela. Pravzaprav je postopek vedno bolj zanimiv od končnega dela. Iz vseh možnih poti, ki vodijo iz ene ideje lahko kasneje vidimo labirintu podobno ozadje ustvarjanja. V resnici je razmišljanje seksi, ne končno delo.

Začela sem z zeleno veščo. Ne vem zakaj sem jo izbrala. Vsem pade v oči, videla sem jo skoraj na vsakem drugem delu, ki je objavljeno na internetu. Včasih se mi zdi, da se je zelena vešča preveč približala kiču in da me zaradi tega ne bi smela pritegniti. Prepozno, me je že. Actias Luna ne živi v mojih krajih, tako da je možnost, da bi jo videla enaka ničli. Kakor koli, njena zelena barva me je spomnila Mesečniške romance Federica Garcie Lorce, zelene mladenke, ki čaka na balkonu, potem zapuščenih hiš, preraščenih z zelenjem in zapuščenega rastlinjaka v Manfredovem vrtu. Manfred je nekdo, ki sem si ga nekoč izmislila za neko zgodbo, ki se še vedno ni končala. Zakaj je zapuščeni rastlinjak ravno v njegovem vrtu, ne pove. Od tam je moje razmišljanje preskočilo k moškemu, ki pleza k visokim balkonom, kjer ga čaka njegova zelena mladenka (tako vsaj on misli), medtem, ko mu tristo temno rdečih vrtnic mezi skozi belo srajco, in naprej k My Oblivion, komadu, ki ga izvajajo Tindersticks. Nekje vmes je še ena ideja, tista o drugi luni, kot v romanu 1Q84 Harukija Murakamija, manjši zelenkasti luni, ki izgleda kot da bi bila prekrita z mahom. Pravzaprav sta zelena luna in vešča isto, kdo ve, morda je tudi zelena mladenka isto. Čakajo še druge poti, vendar luči ob njih še niso prižgane: pijani orožniki, ki vlamljajo vrata, mrtva mladenka v vodnjaku, medtem ko odsev lune pleše na površini vode, keramične ploščice na balkonskih tleh in kaligrafija. 

V resnici mi niti najmanj ni jasno kam grem z vsemi temi asociacijami. Uživam v procesu, kracam in čečkam v skicirko, dokler so ideje še sveže, saj se zavedam kako hitro lahko izginejo. Za enkrat uspešno odganjam Vodne ptice. To zimo mi nihče ne preprečuje slikanja. Za enkrat zmagujem, vendar, kdo ve, stanje se lahko tudi obrne. Upajmo, da se ne bo. 



petek, 23. december 2016

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr


I read mixed reviews about this book. People seem to either love or hate it. I loved it. I loved the writing, the short chapters, like impressions taken out of a person's life, flashbacks written in a way I could almost see them. (Sheets of paper tumble down the rows of cots, and in Werner’s chest comes a quickening. He sees Frau Elena kneel beside the coal stove and bank up the fire. Children in their beds. Baby Jutta sleeps in her cradle. His father lights a lamp, steps into an elevator, and disappears. The voice of Volkheimer: What you could be.) I loved the author's unusual choice of words to describe ordinary things like the sound of fire: the sound of dried roses being crushed in a fist; or the swimming of flies. I know flies don't swim, they fly or swarm, but for me swimming of flies implies slow or dazed movement. I imagined that's how the soldiers must have been feeling: dazed and nightmarish. What I loved the most was the ability of the author to convince me to read on, even though I don't like reading novels set during the Second World War. For me it was a powerful read, each word seems to be leaden with meaning, waiting to be thought over, digested, torn apart.

There are two storylines. There is Marie-Laure, a blind girl living in France before and during the Second World War. In Germany there's Werner's story, going on at the same time. Marie-Laure's life revolves around The Museum of National History, where her father Daniel LeBlanc works. She's learning to live after her sight is gone, and reads Jules Verne's 20.000 Leagues Under the Sea. After the beginning of the war, Marie-Laure and her father leave Paris for Saint-Malo, a town on the coast, where uncle Etienne lives. This is where she gets acquainted with the resistance and a big radio in the attic. Werner likes radios, wants to be a radio engineer and study in Berlin. Unfortunately he is an orphan, living in coal mining town, destined to work in a mine as soon as he turns fifteen. All he wants in life in to escape Zollverein and his father's destiny when one day he left for work in the mine and never returned. Werner gets his wish, but as always, everything has its price. There's also the third story, the one of The Sea Of Flames, a stone, a diamond, promising immortality to whoever owns it. The diamond brings sergeant major von Rumpel into the novel, a seriously ill German officer traveling across Europe, looking for treasures for the Füherer's Museum. 

What I thought of the most when I was reading this book was the ability of distinguishing right from wrong and all it brings along. Werner's sister Jutta says: Is it right to do something only because everyone else is doing it? He admires her ability to tell right from wrong, but at the same time a weaker part of him resents it. Thinking the way she thinks doesn't keep her safe. She writes letters the school censor blocks out almost completely. By her not being safe, Werner isn't safe. His friend Frederik believes that we don't have choices, we don't own our lives. I think Werner knows the difference between right and wrong, he just never acts on it. Up till the end when his only choice is like atonement for all the instances he failed to prevent wrong. Marie-Laure says: When I lost my sight, Werner, people said I was brave. When my father left, people said I was brave, But it is not bravery, I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don't you do the same? He says: Not in years. But today. Today maybe I did.  

War is a whore. She never dies, just dons a new frock and reappears somewhere else on Earth. History keeps repeating itself. What is it? Wheel of fortune? Eternal return? History is decided by the victors who act in their own self-interest. I'll stop now and conclude with the words form the novel: Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.


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O tej knjigi sem brala različne odzive. Ljudem je všeč ali pa ni. Meni je bila ... zelo. Všeč mi je stil pisanja, kratka poglavja, ki so kot vtisi iz življenja, všeč so mi spomini, ki so opisani tako, da se jih predstavljam kot da bi gledala film. Všeč mi je kako avtor izbira nenavadne besede, s katerimi opiše navadne stvari, na primer da je zvok ognja tak kot da bi v pesti stisnili suhe vrtnice ali kako muhe plavajo nad mizami. Ja, vem, muhe ne plavajo, ampak letijo. Plavanje muh ima zame čisto drugačen pomen. Ko muhe plavajo, se predstavljam, da se to odvija počasi, omotično. Tako nekako so se morali počutiti vojaki, omotično, kot v nočni mori. Najbolj mi je bilo všeč to, da me je Doerr z vsakim poglavjem prepričal, da berem naprej, čeprav večinoma ne maram brati knjig, ki se dogajajo med drugo svetovno vojno. Knjiga je bila zame precej močna, vsaka beseda se mi je zdela polna pomena, ki čaka, da o njem razmislim, ga prebavim in ga razsujem. 

V knjigi beremo dve zgodbi, ki se v poglavjih med seboj izmenjujeta. Marie-Laure je slepa deklica, ki živi v Franciji pred in med drugo svetovno vojno. V Nemčiji v istem času živi Werner. Življenje Marie-Laure se vreti okoli Prirodoslovnega muzeja, kjer dela njen oče Daniel LeBlanc. Spopada se z vsakodnevnim življenjem potem, ko je izgubila vid in bere 20.000 milj pod morjem Julesa Verna. Kmalu po začetku vojne z očetom zapustita Pariz in odideta v Saint-Malo, mestece na obali, kjer živi Danielov stric Etienne. Tam se Marie-Laure seznani z odporniškim gibanjem in velikim radiom na podstrešju. Wernerja zanima radio, želi si postati radio inženir in študirati v Berlinu. Na žalost živi v sirotišnici v rudarskem kraju, takoj ko bo dopolnil petnajst let pa ga čaka delo v rudniku. Vse kar si želi je, da bi zbežal iz Zollvereina in očetove usode, ko je nekega dne odšel na delo v rudnik in se ni več vrnil. Wernerju se izpolni želja, vendar ima, kot vedno, vse svojo ceno. Poleg njunih zgodb beremo tudi zgodbo o Morju ognja, kamnu, diamantu, ki ponuja nesmrtnost tistemu, ki ga ima. Diamant v roman prinese resno bolnega nemškega častnika von Rumpla, ki potuje po Evropi iz zbira zaklade za Hitlerjev muzej. 

Med branjem mi je najbolj dala misliti sposobnost ločevanja dobrega od zlega in vse kar to prinese s seboj. Wernerjeva sestra Jutta se sprašuje ali je prav, da počnemo nekaj samo zato, ker to počnejo vsi drugi. Werner to njeno lastnost občuduje, čeprav ji jo šibkejši del njega zameri. Tako razmišljanje ne zagotavlja varnosti. Jutta piše pisma, ki jih cenzor na Wernerjevi šoli skoraj popolnoma prečrta. Če Jutta ni varna, tudi Werner ni. Njegov sošolec Frederik meni, da nimamo pravice do izbire, da si ne lastimo svojih življenj. Mislim, da Werner pozna razliko med dobrim in zlim, le da nikoli ne ravna tako. No, razen na koncu, ko je njegova odločitev podobna pokori za vsa grozodejstva, ki jih ni preprečil, odklonil. Ko se pogovarjata, Marie-Laure pravi, da ni pogumna, da se samo zjutraj zbudi in živi svoje življenje. Werner ugotovi, da do takrat tega najbrž nikoli ni storil. Tistega dne pa morda je.

Vojna je kurba. V resnici nikoli ne umre, samo drugo obleko si obleče in se pojavi drugje na svetu. Zgodovina se ponavlja kot ... kaj? Kolo sreče? Večno vračanje? Zgodovino pišejo zmagovalci, skladno s svojimi interesi. Najbolje, da na tem mestu neham in zaključim z mislijo iz knjige: Glejte z lastnimi očmi, vse kar lahko, dokler se ne zaprejo za vedno.